The Lindbergh Foundation Believes that Innovative Science and Technology Hold the Key to Addressing Humanity’s Environmental and Productivity Challenges


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It was 84 years ago today, that Charles Lindbergh took his first flight in the Spirit of St. LouisLindbergh with Ryan Reps.  "This morning I'm going to test the Spirit of St. Louis," Lindbergh wrote in his book The Spirit of St. Louis.  "It's the 28th day of April ... What a beautiful machine it is, resting there on the field in front of the hangar, trim and slender, gleaming in its silver coat!  All our ideas, all our calculations, all our hopes lie there before me, waiting to undergo the acid test of flight.  For me, it seems to contain the whole future of aviation.  When such planes can be built, there's no limitation to the air."

The Spirit was built by 35 employees of Ryan Airlines, Inc., in San Diego, California.  It took just 60 days.

Attention Pilots!

The Lindbergh Foundation is sponsoring a special event during the AOPA Summit 2010 in Long Beach, Calif., at the Hyatt Regency, adjacent to the convention center, in the Regency Ballroom, Salon B at 10 a.m. on Nov. 12.

The forum, dubbed,  “Aviation, the Environment and the Future,” will provide attendees a quick, interesting taste of the leading edge of the future of general aviation.  

 Lindbergh Foundation Chairman Larry Williams, President and CEO of BRS Aerospace said, "This hour–long session will highlight big changes that are in the pipeline at the intersection of aviation and the environment.  This intersection is at the very core of the Lindbergh Foundation’s desire to encourage solutions, acknowledge progress and communicate ideas that affect general aviation.” 

The event is open to all attendees and includes six, 10-minute-long presentations that will give those who attend a rapid but substantive look at the advances in:


  • Alternative bio-fuel for use in GA aircraft,
  • Cessna’s electric airplane program,
  • Fuel cell and drag reduction initiatives,
  • New diesel engine options,
  • The company-wide environmental program at Cessna, and
  • Some stage-setting general future trends that will shape the coming environment.


“The relationship between technology and our environment is one of the most important issues facing aviation, and in fact, all humankind,” said John King, co-chairman of King Schools and director on the Lindbergh Foundation’s Board.  “For our own good and the good of society, we in the aviation industry must exercise leadership and steer the dialog and action toward a more productive approach.”

The Lindbergh Foundation’s Aviation Green Investment Program is a forward-looking, multifaceted effort that targets the aviation community.   It encourages innovative solutions through providing research grants and facilitating significant industry initiatives, acknowledges the progress of those who have made substantial contributions through its annual awards, and communicates new and important ideas through its education programs.

Charles and Anne Lindbergh, throughout their many pioneering flights, shared a previously impossible aerial view of the effects of the advance of human population and economic development on the land, water and air.  Realizing that technology was a major component of any equation describing how humanity would both advance and protect its environment, Charles Lindbergh became a very strong advocate for the environment.  The Lindbergh Foundation continues this legacy.

We hope to see you there!


The Lindbergh FoundationStephanie Mixson is very excited to be funding Stephanie Mixson's research into "Conserving Energy and Freshwater by Harnessing Saltwater Algae as a Biofuel Source." Her project is unique from other work being done to create biofuels from algae because she is focusing on saltwater algae, and being able to use existing coastal refineries to create a "drop-in" replacement for oil. Mixson added that, "One of the primary goals of this project is to produce aviation biofuels using microalgae."

Furthermore, the resulting product is expected to meet specifications for Jet A-1 and JP-8 fuels.

John King, co-chairman of King Schools, Inc., and board member of the Lindbergh Foundation, weighed in on this subject, saying, "To continue to be viable, the aviation industry must solve the problem of carbon emissions. The work Ms. Mixson is conducting, with support from the Lindbergh Foundation, offers one of the best hopes for a solution to this critical problem."

Dr. William Roberts, Professor of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering at North Carolina State University, explained that the emissions from this fuel would not add additional greenhouse gases to the atmosphere because the feedstocks pull carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere to grow (i.e., the carbon is non-anthropogenic), and by emitting less particulate matter, the radiation balance is affected in a positive way. "Microalgae is probably 7 – 10 years away from being commercially viable, and other oil crops, such as camelina or jatropha, could be ready in as little as 3 years at the scale of 10 million gallons per year using our process, with aggressive funding," said Dr. Roberts.

The best news is that competitive pricing, similar to petroleum at approximately $2.50 per gallon, is planned.

This project is very important and timely because as Ms. Mixson points out, two of the most important natural resources supporting modern civilization are oil and freshwater. Worldwide, there are already freshwater shortages and no substitutes for most freshwater uses including growing agricultural crops, manufacturing goods, and safeguarding human health. Furthermore, freshwater is being used to make fuel. Petroleum-based fuels are also being rapidly depleted, so scientists are turning to renewable biofuels. However, most attention has been on freshwater microalgae, which would further drain freshwater resources.

This is what the Lindbergh Foundation's concept of "Balance" is all about. Using science and innovation to tackle real-world problems that affect our environment and quality of life.

Dr. Ganesh Raman recently presented a paper at the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA) 2010 Aerospace Sciences Conference in Orlando, Florida.  The paper was based on the research funded by the Lindbergh Foundation.  He conveyed some very good results.  Click here to download a PDF of his paper.

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